Crystal Cathedral Sale: Christian Institutions Fight to Purchase Church Landmark (VIDEO)

Two Christian institutions battling to purchase the 50-acre Garden Grove, Calif., property belonging to the indebted Crystal Cathedral Ministry have both sweetened their deals, which caused the final decision in the case to be rescheduled to Thursday, according to a hearing Monday in a Santa Ana bankruptcy court.

 Christian Institutions Compete to Purchase the Inspiring Crystal Cathedral

Chapman University, one of two major bidders trying to buy the property of bankruptcy-entangled Crystal Cathedral Ministry, added a twist to its bid, offering the church a $1-a-month lease, local media reported.

The university reportedly originally proposed a $150,000 lease to the church's founder the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, so that the congregation can continue to assemble at its landmark building featuring a glass covered building.

The university, an Orange County-based private school affiliated with a Protestant organization called the Disciples of Christ, was also offering a buyback option once the church gets back on its feet in 5 years, but the new lease would cancel that possibility, the Orange County Register reported.

Chapman University President James Doti reportedly said during the hearing that the school is willing to offer the core buildings, including the cathedral, the Tower of Hope, Memorial Gardens and Arboretum for $1-a-month lease. But the university has not raised its bid for the piece of real estate, which remains at $51.5 million.

The school is not the highest bidder. That title goes to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which has been trying hard to close the deal, raising its bid for the second time over the weekend. Its original offer was first bumped up by $1.8 million, to $55.4 million, last week, and currently it stands at $57.5 million, local media report.

Designed by award-winning architect Philip Johnson, the Crystal Cathedral, first-ever all-glass church was dedicated on September 14, 1980 "To the Glory of Man for the Greater Glory of God."  Schuller, who broadcast his weekly Hour of Power program from the Cathedral, once remarked, "It was there [at the Crystal Cathedral] I fell in love with the sky!"

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